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Parkour in the sewers - 73%

gasmask_colostomy, September 13th, 2017

Despite having the same sort of cover image that Celtic Frost might favour and including an intro and outro sequence similar to 'Danse Macabre' from Morbid Tales, Sierpes spend most of their first full-length in faster and dirtier precincts than the Swiss misfits. Forming two years ago, the South American duo appear to be a continuation of the interbreeding in the extreme metal scenes of their respective countries, Melissa Perdomo making her way over to join Muerto (also of Ecuadorian bands Bestial Rape and Destroyer Attack) after her split with Colombian outfit Lucifera, for whom she played drums and handled vocal duties, a role she reprises here.

As one often expects of extreme metal bands from the locations just mentioned, Sierpes baulk at modern recording techniques and technical playing styles. Aside from the relative extravagance of the symphonic frame, Visiones Caóticas is a very simple album, killing off nine tracks of filthy speed metal in about 25 minutes and making few concessions to variety or melody. Muerto, who contributes both guitar and bass, riffs in the same manner as many primitive black thrashers, borrowing heavily from Sodom’s first album, then other obvious focal points like Sarcófago, Venom, Hellhammer, and Bulldozer, leaving little room for subtlety even if the merciless sprints break for breath at points in 'Doctrina Pagana' and 'Eterno Esplendor De La Muerte'. As such, some of the riffs are rather plain, though that’s not to say that the wonky descending thrash on 'Black Holocaust' isn’t a nice change or that the harsher black metal of 'The Age' (a cover of the Typhon song) proves more diverting than mere right-handed bludgeon. There are also solos here and there, though the sub-Pleasure to Kill shredding proves of little note.
 
Perdomo proves herself a fine drummer in the flat-out chaos, mastering a host of time changes as riffs mutate without warning and throwing a new fill at the song perhaps every 10 seconds on average. The barrage throughout 'Sierpes' and 'Ciclo Cosmico' is hugely impressive, taking the music from simple energetic homage to an enjoyable spectacle in its own right. Oddly, one of the cymbals sounds like an air gun going off in the distance, but the rest of the kit sounds great even if it is slightly rattly and gets a full workout at top speed without often needing to resort to blastbeats. This results in Visiones Caóticas sounding rather less extreme than some of the bandmembers’ previous projects, almost becoming catchy when the riffing distinguishes itself fully, though the vocals are a raw shout that certainly adds nothing accessible to the equation.

From the uniformity of the style and the short length of the album, the songs would not be expected to differ greatly, which is mostly the case. Most of the record is played at full pace with little care for structuring refrains or hooks; therefore the brunt of the onslaught will carry the listener through the first few listens. However, there are certainly highlights, the dip to mid-paced early Darkthrone groove on 'Doctrina Pagana' proving one of the most gratifying moments alongside the shit-kicking of 'Sierpes' and 'Vision Caótica', which manages to break the onrush of speed to forge the most memorable vocal section. A couple of songs, particularly 'Peste' and 'Ciclo cósmico' marginally undersell themselves by becoming less distinctive in the riffing department, though the band made the right decision to abridge the album and song lengths, since too much of this style would certainly fare worse than too little.
 
As a debut album from an underground band, Visiones Caóticas can hardly be expected to make huge waves, though it is a wonderfully streamlined trip through the underbelly of the extreme scene. For anyone contemplating taking up parkour in their city’s sewers, one of the 666 copies of Visiones Caóticas would make an ideal soundtrack.

Originally written for The Metal Observer. Available at http://www.metal-observer.com/3.o/review/sierpes-visiones-caoticas/